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GOSUB for the Atari 7800 Review!

Silver Back


I want to start off by saying I love GOSUB on the 7800!  It was a fantastic experience, simple to pick up and a lot of fun to learn.  It's a solid play for an evening or afternoon, and it's a bit cheaper than other games I've purchased off of other websites.  I got it from 2600connection, but I couldn't find it listed anywhere on his Facebook or Website.  I had to send him an email and ask him if he had any left, PayPal him the money, and it came pretty quick.  It's hard to track down unless you really want to find it, and he has a lot of other games and versions of GOSUB for other platforms.  Yes, I love GOSUB for the 7800, but should you go to the trouble of tracking it down for yourself?  Maybe not actually...

The graphics are very simple.  You have the blue background that represents water, along with the deadly seaweed outline that traps your yellow submarine and makes traveling difficult.  Then there's an octopus that will track you relentlessly, and later there are even larger enemies and tiny sharks that are surprisingly detailed!  Each level had a simple key and treasure chest and the last few levels have portals that look just as simple.  Everything  in the game looks uniform with the rest  of the game and the coloring is all fine.  Honestly, it's a boring game graphically.  The title screen looks okay, the ending screen looks okay, and the game over screens look... you guessed it... okay.  Overall the graphics may be a bit too simple really, but they work for this game.


Please Excuse The Screenshots, their not uniform yet.

If you sit at the title screen you will hear the sonar of your submarine beep every few seconds.  It made my wife ask "what is that beeping, it's driving me crazy".  So don't let it sit at the title while you write a review.  But other than that the song that plays is nice and catchy and the sound effects are fine too.  Again, these things are simple and on their own I don't think their anything impressive at all, similar to the graphics.  But when you add them to the gameplay of this game you get something fantastic.  So, although it might be cliche, GOSUB is greater than the sum of it's parts.  Easily.

And the gameplay is really the main thing to talk about here.  It's a maze game where you must push a direction to make your sub move.  It will continue in that direction until you push another direction and it will start to move that way.  So once you start moving, you will always be moving.  It can be difficult not to touch the sides of the seaweed maze sometimes, but the octopus that will chase you relentlessly is what really adds to the challenge.  You can only fire in the direction your moving in and you can only have one bullet on the screen at a time.  So if you shoot at an octopus that's coming at you and miss, then you need to have room to evade until your next shot is ready.  It actually can get pretty intense and fun!
You also have 2 lives per level which is nice for progression.  If you use all your lives on level 5 for instance, than you don't have to worry about having no lives for level 6.  You'll automatically start out with 2 more lives for your attempts of that level.  Later levels you'll encounter an invincible shark that will move randomly and you most avoid, and portals that allow you to get to other ends of the maze.  Not to mention the mid and final boss that requires quite a few shots to get past.  You don't technically kill him, but you do chase him off.  At the end of each maze you'll find a treasure chest that may or may not require a key and that's essentially the game.


Screenshot from WIP

It all plays and works well together, but I do have a complaint.  This game is SHORT!  Too short.  I was able to beat it in about 2 hours of playing.  When I first turned GOSUB on it was too easy because I didn't see any octopus enemies, but the difficulty switches fix that.  So there is a "kids" mode I would say, or one without enemies.  But the 21 levels left me wanting so much more.  I was satisfied with the game, but I don't see myself pulling it down again anytime soon.  The want to replay the same levels just isn't there for me.  I don't think I would get anything more from repeated playthroughs of the game I guess.  I would buy another cart if he doubled the levels though, but that's just me.

GOSUB did provide a fun afternoon for me (well 2 now: one when I got it and one to prepare for this review) but I really don't have the want to continue beating it.  It feels fantastic, and there are bonus levels along with the boss battles to break up the maze based gameplay.  It all works fantastic, its just a shame that it didn't last longer.  I believe I paid 30 dollars, maybe under 35 with shipping for this one from 2600connection (google it, because the website I had led to somewhere else now) and I've spent more on a single evening before.  You could have dinner, see a movie, or play GOSUB and have some good old fashion enjoyment.  Plus the cartridge looks nice.  But if you want something with a little more meat on it, then you may want to look elsewhere.


The Cartridge and Manual Look Nice.  Shame there's no box...

Graphics: 5 out of 10

The graphics aren't really bad, but they are simple.  Given the simplicity of what's needed you could've really went all out with details.  But it works in context of the rest of the game

Sound: 6 out of 10

I really like the songs composition and it sounds good.  The only sound effect I didn't care for was that beeping at the title screen, but I guess it's my fault for letting it sit.

Gameplay: 7 out of 10

This game plays fantastic.  Don't touch the edges, avoid the enemies, and grab the treasure!  It's simple but it works!

Fun: 8 out of 10

I loved it while it lasted.  I felt like we were just getting started with the sharks and portals when I got to the end, so it feels like it finishes abruptly.  But I really liked the experience up until then.

Value: 3 out of 10

I hate to give this such a low score on value, but it only lasts a few hours with little reason to go back to it.  I may play it once every few years and that's it.  This is truly the low point of this game.

Overall: 6 out of 10 GOOD!

I bounced back and forth between a 5 and 6 for this one.  I do recommend it for those that are okay with paying 35 bucks for an evening of fun.  Everybody else should steer clear, but I do want to say that I'm glad I experienced this game and don't regret the purchase.


Edited by Silver Back


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